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April 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 43, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Well-Known Rebreather Diver in the News Again

from the April, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Peter SotisIt looks like times are going to get busy for Peter Sotis, a well-known personality in the rebreather world. The Florida Keys News broke the story on March 27 that he and his company, Add Helium, are to be the defendants in a law suit brought about the family of famous Canadian film maker Rob Stewart, who lost his life while diving under Sotis' instruction at Islamorada, in the Keys on January 31.

The Florida Keys News says he has a history of legal issues including being one of four defendants to plead guilty in a $300,000 jewelry heist in Fort Myers in 1991, a conviction that lead to him serving three years in a federal prison.

"When you learn more about these defendants and the history of negligent behavior by people like Mr. Sotis, you come to realize this was a preventable tragedy that was going to happen to someone," Michael Haggard, of the Haggard Law Firm, said in a statement.

"The Stewart family hopes the legal action will push out and/or change the ways of all irresponsibly operating diving businesses and help keep attention on Stewart's mission of ocean conservation."

In a bizarre twist, the rebreather instructor trainer who accompanied Rob Stewart and who had trained him to use the rebreather he was wearing when he died in January, is being sued twice over. In an unusual lawsuit, Sotis is being accused of selling military grade scuba gear to Libyan militants.

The Florida Keys News says he is also being sued by Shawn Robotka, who owns one-fifth of Sotis' business, Kaizen International Solutions LLC. Robotka's attorneys wrote in a complaint filed in Broward County Circuit Court that Sotis sold rebreathers and Diver Propulsion Vehicles to a client in Libya.

It is unclear whether the sale went ahead or if Sotis is under any investigation for a breach of government sanctions. His attorney, Raymond Robin, says he doesn't know. The FBI is tight-lipped on the matter. Sotis is apparently out of contact at the moment.

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